Beauty Queens

Our church hosted a Queen for the Day Spa to benefit a women's shelter. Since my best gal pal, Stephanie, is pregnant, I wanted to treat her to a special day before life changes and she's a mom of four. We had a great time getting facials, manicures and a massage. Here we are in all our no-makeup glory! And while we absorbed every minute of pampering our husbands had a great day of their own. They were brave and headed to Culvers for lunch -- just the guys! And when we arrived back we found them playing baseball in the backyard.


Too Much of a Good Thing

Saturday was Matt's first baseball game. It was a chilly 55 degrees and very windy. Mark and I cuddled underneath a warm fleece blanket while snacking on yogurt covered raisins -- his favorite.

Matt made great hits every time at the plate. A couple shot above the shortstop's head and Matt announced over and over again that he "got a double". His efforts didn't stop there...

On the field he snatched up ball after ball throwing quickly to first. When he played pitcher he even caught a couple behind the back and again, hustled together to aim at first base. He was amazing!

After the game I had parents coming up to me asking his age, how long he's been playing and why we didn't advance him to instructional ball. (And if you must know, we felt Matt needed to be with players his own age. I don't want to push him. He may have talent, but he's still only in first grade. It was a maturity thing.)

One came up calling Matt "the stud player". More approached him saying he's a "true ball player". Steve and I always knew Matt can grasp athletic concepts easily, so this came as no surprise and you can imagine our delight. I mean there was a time when we thought his life would be altered in so many ways because of celiac disease. To see him excel swelled my heart. On the way home we were telling Matt what a great job he did and he was aware of the compliments he received. All of us were beaming.

Then this morning on our way to church Matt says, "I can't wait to play again today. You know, I'm the stud-player."

It hit. Hard. That awful word: PRIDE (with a little arrogance on the side)

I collected my thoughts about Saturday's game. Did I want my son to have this kind of ego? No. Not my son. Most of all Steve and I want our boys to know that God is the giver of life and talents and He should receive the glory, not ourselves. As I started sharing, we all were convicted and allowed humility back in.

Pride can be like a cancer. It starts out small and then grows to deform your mind and spirit. It allows man to think he is above the Lord even when you have the best intentions. Do we want Matt to play well? Sure. But I wasn't about to let the seed of pride be planted in his heart. No one will enjoy being around a bragging boy who only thinks of himself. We are the Body of Christ. No one is better than the other. Each has a position called to by God and each person is an important function; kinda like a team. We need to work together.

At the game today, he hi-fived his teammates. He shouted, "Great job," to all the guys. It wasn't about him, but the team. He wasn't boasting about his double yesterday. He just knew to play his best for the team; not himself. And again, I heard the comments from others. "Thanks," I said and left them at the doorstep.

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6



Marker Disaster

When I heard silence, I knew something was up.



Limiting Rice Purchases

READ ABOUT IT HERE What's next? An immunity challenge and the winner gets a bag of rice to take home? I sure hope not. I am not an expert on running an obstacle course or holding my breath 'til I pass out. And you'll never see me lasting more than a minute standing on a wooden post the size of my big toe.

I've decided to do most of my summer clothes shopping online thanks to several free shipping promos. I just don't feel like driving anywhere anymore. Gas is too precious and down right expensive.

The signs of the times are a bit scary, but God will give me peace.


Spring Fever

It's here. It's really here. SPRING.....with summer close by.

The boys are outside daily. Matt is riding his bike with his buddies. Mark and I walk to our park before lunchtime and I am amazed that his little feet walk that entire distance without a complaining word.

We attended Steve's softball game last night although we never saw Daddy hit. He took care of the books since his elbow is still recovering. Matt ran off with kids to play catch while Mark played in the kitty litter like dirt. Matt was never a dirt-loving kid, however his little brother is. That bath water was sure hazy!

Neighbors are out chatting. People wave "hi" as they take after-dinner walks. Sometimes I think technology has done a disservice to communication. Forget texting and go out and talk to one another!

The windows are open. Fresh air throughout the house. I switched off the heat and hopefully next month's utility bill reflects big savings.

I grilled steaks. Our oven decided to bust, but who cares when I can cut into a mouth-watering piece of grilled goodness. As I type I am waiting for the repairman to call with an estimated time of arrival.

The fridge is stocked with produce. Strawberries, red peppers, grapes, blueberries.....

Oh, I love this season. How about you?

And if you haven't already, celebrate Spring by entering my Bloggy Carnival Giveaway!


Bloggy Giveaway Spring Carnival

THE WINNER IS: Audra's Little Scraps

And how perfect that her blog is all about scrapbooking! I hope you enjoy this, Audra!

This is a first for me: A GIVEAWAY hosted by Bloggy Giveaways
Who doesn't love the ease of digital camera prints, especially when they can be shipped to your door. I am offering 50 digital prints from Snapfish and if you are a first time user, they will add another 20 prints for free.

Leave a comment and I will draw the lucky winner on April 26 @ 9pm CST. Please follow the giveaway guidelines and good luck!


What You Don't See May Surprise You

This seems like a cute snapshot, huh? It was taken during my family's belated Easter gathering. But what you may not have noticed right away is the several grease stain splatters on my shirt. I was cutting the ham when a huge chuck fell into the juices. All. Over. Me.

As I studied this photo it made me think: while trying to smile appearing to be all put together, may not appear to be so.

Behind this mommy is a woman who sometimes allows potato chips for breakfast. During my workout (which I am committed to keep up with) I sit Mark in front of the office's TV with a full hour of Blue's Clues to keep him occupied. And, yes, when that ring pop falls in the grass, I may not rinse it off. A little of the Earth's minerals can't be all that bad, right?

And for those of you wondering, those dust bunnies are still on the window trim. Will I ever get to them? Ask me again in another week or two or three....

As I type my bed is not made. Maybe I won't even get to it today. And I could probably spend time cleaning my bathrooms and organizing closets, but it's a nice day. We'll end up hitting our neighborhood park instead. So what if the house isn't neat and tidy!

So here I am. In all my messy, imperfect glory. With these grease stains on my shirt.

What grease stains are you trying to hide?


Entitled: "Self Portrait"

And I thought Matt wasn't creative?

He proved me wrong!

(made with pieces of construction paper)


Please, Waste Management....

Dear Garbage Man,

My son, Mark, anticipates your arrival every week. He knows what lies ahead when we are busy emptying our bathrooms' cans and dragging our bins to the end of the driveway the night before. He can't wait to hear the squeak of your breaks.

And thank you for lifting the front loader every time you stop in front of our house. That is an added bonus! He loves that!

But could you please come later in the morning. 5:50am is too early for me to hear, "Mommy, garbage truck!" I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,

One Tired Mom -- and it's not even 9am yet!



I worked out yesterday. Yes, I sure did! My muscles are a bit sore this morning and it feels so good! And it did replace that hour I used to spend watching Oprah. Refreshing.

But what is not so refreshing is our local gas price average: $3.75

I am so frustrated by this. Soon we'll have to decide whether to put gas in our van or eat! Not that it has really come to that yet, but seriously....

Right now there are some households that can't afford to put $80 of gas in their vehicle that they rely on to take them to work or the kids to school. What is America going to do? Will there be an end to all the madness?


Out With the Old, In With the New

It's Monday. A fresh start to the unseen week. Baseball practice with a group photo. Flag football practice. Friends to have coffee with. Library storytime. Endless possibilities and at the same time, possible let downs.

Another week. Possibly the week I finally remove Oprah from my Tivo schedule. Her grey-colored Christianity isn't working for me anymore. Some may disagree, but in my opinion she is causing lots of confusion in the Body of Christ. I don't think I can stand her "God accepts all ways to salvation" any longer.

A new week. Maybe I'll replace that hour of Oprah with some sort of workout show? Oh how I need to stop being a slug and get moving. Or maybe the root is from cabin fever and dealing with 40-degree temperatures again? I just love taking walks with my boys and chatting with neighbors. Whatever the reason, I need to get off my butt!

A week of trying something new. I just got word that Rice Chex cereal is gluten free. Its on my grocery list. Here's to hoping more companies jump on the bandwagon and cater to those with dietary needs.

This week I anticipate Thursday when we attend our school's art show and see two pieces Matt created. I thought he was the logical-type and less creative. Boy, was I wrong!

An overall week of change. My parents gave our family a children's devotional book (shown here), which we started this morning. It's easy to read and the concepts are on a child's level. I pray with each day my boys desire to know Jesus and walk like Him. (And maybe us parents will learn a thing or two as well!)


Freezing Our Eggs Off

What happened to our 60+ degree weather? Today it will reach 40 and the forecast is saying that dreaded word again: SNOW

Today we are having my family over for a be-lated Easter celebration since we were taking off a couple weeks ago. I planned to grill out, but in this kind of weather? I think not! And what about our annual egg hunt? Again, not happening. It's all about being flexible, right? So I got a ham instead.

And on our menu for dessert: FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE I tried it out this week and, oh boy, soooooo decadent and yummy! Top it off with ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream and you got yourself one delicious tower of chocolate gluten-free goodness. I had to share:

12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate; chopped

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

6 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar Confectioners' sugar and/or cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 by 2-inch spring form pan. Put the chocolate, butter, and salt in a large microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted.

Beat the eggs and sugar with a standing or handheld mixer until light and thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Fold the melted chocolate into the whipped eggs until evenly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out wet but not gooey, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

When ready to serve remove ring from spring form mold. Dust cake with confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder.


Living Without

I can't tell you how much I love this magazine. The president is from the Chicagoland area and contributes to University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center --> Where Matt goes for his screenings and Dr. Guandalini is at the forefront of celiac research. That's where I want my son be for sure! (CLICK HERE to read about our son's story.)

But this magazine doesn't only focus on celiac disease/gluten free living, but also on other allergens that affect over 12 million Americans (soy, dairy, peanuts, even bee stings). --> Check out back issues now!

And see what Disney is doing to help those with special dietary needs. This will make our future family vacation there a good one. Enjoying a huge buffet with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck is possible!!


Little Things That Make a BIG Difference

  • Clear nail polish. Chipping color is hidden and it really does make my nails appear healthier.

  • Flaxseed meal. I add it to practically everything without the boys detecting it. Very healthy!

  • Speed dial.

  • Morning cup of coffee -- or "Mommy's happy juice" as Steve calls it.

  • Foaming hand soap

  • Wipes (wet wipes, Clorox wipes, glass wipes, furniture wipes....just all wipes in general)

  • Hair clips for non-washed hair days -- like today!

  • Mascara for weary eyes -- again, like today!

  • And most of all, a quieted voice to hear GOD more and me less. What a difference that would make, but why is it so hard to do?



This weekend our family had a taste of what lies ahead: SUMMER

Now I know we only hit the mid-60's, but seriously, my mood was altered from gloom to joy just by the warm sun. And I guess having the boys play outside for hours on end helped too. All their bickering and rough-housing wasn't occurring five feet away from me. I had several moments of peace in my kitchen watching from the window as they screamed and hollered in outdoor bliss.

Sunday Matt (#33) had his first flag football game. It was so much fun! Matt was Mr. Quick as he dodged and spun around the field. Mark made sure to cheer for his big bro: "Go orange. Hi, Matt!" A far cry from trying to keep his attention with suckers and toys like we did for two years at baseball games. He was really into the game and we noticed how much he looks up to Matt. Truly sweet!

And on the subject of kids and sports, I am wondering if I fit the description of what a soccer mom is? Can someone define it for me and I'll decide. Right now I think I fit the bill! -- Is that a bad thing?


Am I (or you) a Republicrat?

This week the Democrat primary hopefuls are in my state campaigning away. (And let me also say that Johnny Depp was in our area filming a movie about Dillinger. The town went crazy....or so I was told since we were in Hawaii at the time. Honestly, I found it a little obnoxious. Isn't there more to be concerned about than wondering what Depp looks like in real life?) ANYWAY....

I've done little to review every nook and cranny about Obama, Clinton and McCain, but I get an overall sense of their political views, so-called strategies and beliefs. Obviously McCain doesn't need to do much since he won his party's ticket already.

One wants "change". The other wants complete health care reform. "I'm qualified." "No, I'm more qualified!" "I have experience and this one doesn't" Then there's Iraq. Oh, Iraq. I won't start a firestorm on this blog about that subject. Period. It's not even close to November and already we are experiencing heated debates and down right nastiness.

The other day I ran across this post from a family that runs our church's multi-site planting. He expressed my feelings exactly.


I'm In Time-Out

One night during my after-dinner-dishwashing-session I noticed dust on top of the window's trim. Since my arms were elbow deep in suds I decided to get to it later. I still had two crusty casserole dishes to scrub, a coffee pot to clean and a countertop to wipe down.

That was (hand over my mouth) weeks ago and today I said hello to the same dust bunnies making their home on top of that wood trim. I made the same promise that I would get to them later.

I say this because it relates to me replying to comments. So many of you have left comments on posts and prayed for our family during Steve's elbow problems and my dad's emergency surgery scare, but I haven't returned the favor. I apologize. I hope you know I care about all of you that visit this blog and pray blessings back over your families. Just when I make a promise to visit your blog a week goes by with nothing accomplished, which leads to another promise and another week goes by. You get the picture.

Send me to the naughty chair, Supernanny, I deserve it.

Today is Matt's first baseball practice @ 5:30pm. Right in the middle of dinner, thank you! Tomorrow is flag football practice. Saturday Steve will travel to Terre Haute for classes (2-1/2 hours away) and that night we have a fund raiser to attend as well as another baseball practice and birthday party in between. I'm sure Mark will miss his nap that afternoon, which really helps his mood. (Yeah, right!!)

When you get right down to it, I'm just tired. I like my down time in front of the TV or reading one of my favorite magazines to find a new recipe to try out. I need that time among Dora the Explorer, chicken nuggets, household chores, errands and potty training. I mean I crave that time! It refreshes me and makes me a better mom and you know what they say: a happy mom makes a happy home.

Even God Himself needed an outlet after spending 6 days creating the universe, which, helloooo, is a major task:

"By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done." Genesis 2:2-3 (The Message)

He needed a day to recuperate. To step back and enjoy what he accomplished. And he passed that advice to his creation: REST

On that note, Mark is asking to watch his beloved Dora. Better go!


Again, Someday....

After downloading, uploading and editing, I finally put together a photo slideshow of our trip to Oahu. Sometimes I can still smell the papaya in the air -- or maybe its the hotel's shampoo I brought home to use in our shower? And I made sure to pack all the Kona coffee I could thanks to those 4-packs the maid left in our hotel room every day. Every morning is a Kona coffee morning, well for another three days. ENJOY!